We are delighted to share the new selection of books that will feature on BBC Radio 2 Book Club with Jo Whiley. Every other Monday, from 7-9pm, a new book will be discussed, starting on Monday 13 January.
The Book Club showcases the best brand-new fiction, with a live interview between Jo Whiley and the author, as well as a review from one of our brilliant reading groups.
Monday 13 January: Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
Nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality cop shows, thinks he’s smarter than his friend Pari (even though she always gets top marks) and considers himself to be a better boss than Faiz (even though Faiz is the one with a job).
When a boy at school goes missing, Jai decides to use the crime-solving skills he has picked up from episodes of Police Patrol to find him. With Pari and Faiz by his side, Jai ventures into some of the most dangerous parts of the city; the bazaar at night, and even the railway station at the end of the Purple Line.
But kids continue to vanish, and the trio must confront terrified parents, an indifferent police force and soul-snatching djinns in order to uncover the truth.
Monday 27 January: The Mercies by Kiran Milwood Hargrave
On Christmas Eve, 1617, the sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardø is thrown into a reckless storm. As Maren Magnusdatter watches, forty fishermen, including her father and brother, are lost to the waves, the menfolk of Vardø wiped out in an instant. Now the women must fend for themselves.
Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of Vardø to heel. With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God and flooded with a mighty and terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs.
Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, this is a story about how suspicion can twist its way through a community, and a love that may prove as dangerous as it is powerful.
Finn and Kaz are about to meet for the first time.
Ten-year-old Finn, a quirky, sensitive boy who talks a lot and only eats at cafes with a 5-star hygiene rating, is having a tough time at school and home.
Outspoken Kaz, 59, who has an acerbic sense of humour and a heart of gold, is working at the café when Finn and his mum come in.
They don’t know it yet, but the second time they meet will be a moment which changes both of their lives forever…
Yesterday, Lydia had a bookshop.
Yesterday, Lydia was married to a journalist.
Yesterday, she was with everyone she loved most in the world.
Today, her eight-year-old son Luca is all she has left.
For him, she will carry a machete strapped to her leg.
For him, she will leap onto the roof of a high-speed train.
For him, she will find the strength to keep running.
They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys. Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.
Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much…
Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.
In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?
Monday 23 March: The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education.
As the only daughter of a broke father, she is a valuable commodity. Removed from school and sold as a third wife to an old man, Adunni’s life amounts to this: four goats, two bags of rice, some chickens and a new TV. When unspeakable tragedy swiftly strikes in her new home, she is secretly sold as a domestic servant to a household in the wealthy enclaves of Lagos, where no one will talk about the strange disappearance of her predecessor, Rebecca. No one but Adunni…
As a yielding daughter, a subservient wife, and a powerless servant, fourteen-year-old Adunni is repeatedly told that she is nothing. But Adunni won’t be silenced. She is determined to find her voice – in a whisper, in song, in broken English – until she can speak for herself, for the girls like Rebecca who came before, and for all the girls who will follow.
How the books are chosen
The Reading Agency works with librarians from across the UK to help Radio 2 choose the books featured on the Book Club. Hundreds of books are submitted by publishers and read by a fantastic panel before we meet to choose a shortlist. Meet some of our brilliant librarians.
In each Radio 2 Book Club episode, the book is read and reviewed by one of our passionate reading groups. Then, the BBC come to record their meeting and play it live on the show! If you are interested in your reading group taking part in this, please do send us your details.
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Have you read any of the Book Club titles? You can leave reviews of the books on our website.
Planning to buy some of the titles for your group? Buy books from Hive and support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no extra cost to you.